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Substance Abuse and Liver Transplantation

If you are in need of liver transplantation and have a history of use and/or dependency on substances such as alcohol, prescription narcotics or illicit drugs such as heroin or marijuana, liver transplantation can be dangerous. Former substance abusers are at high risk for relapse. They are often unable to comply with the physicians' orders after the liver transplant. Therefore:

  • Liver transplantation cannot be performed if you are actively using drugs or alcohol.
  • Liver transplantation cannot be performed if you have a history of use without proper evaluation by a trained substance abuse counselor.
  • If you have a history of alcohol and/or drug abuse, you will need to be evaluated prior to being placed on the liver transplant waiting list.

Meeting Certain Conditions to Be Placed on the Liver Transplant Waiting List

You may also be asked to meet certain conditions in order to be placed on the list, such as:

  • Documentation of abstinence from the substance for a specified period of time
  • Documentation of active participation in a rehabilitation program
  • Random blood or urine tests indicating absence of the substance